P01: Evidence of a negativity bias in Psychological Science
Leibniz Institute für Wissensmedien, Germany
In the current paper, we examine evidence for a negativity bias in psychological science, whereby psychologists study more negative concepts, more often. The negativity bias has been mentioned by essentially every theorist (e.g., Festinger, Lewin, Piaget, Baumeister, Schwarz), and there is a large empirical literature supporting the idea that negative things are more threatening (to our survival), and so get more attention from the individual or group (Baumeister, Finkenauer & Vohs, 2001; Festinger, 1951; Tversky & Kahneman, 1979).
Our sample is all those 23,313 papers published between January and October 2013 that are catalogued by Web of Science and contained Psychology as a field keyword. In total there were 257,878 keywords on the 23,385 papers, with 20,256 unique keywords in the dataset.
Top 25 keywords in the field
A cursory look at Table 1 (cover the right side first) suggests that none of the top keywords can seriously be considered positive, while at least disorder(s), depression, anxiety, stress, symptoms, and risk should probably be considered negatively. It is interesting that if one combines ‘disorder’ and ‘disorders’, they become the most popular keyword, being then utilized 2,993 times (disorder should probably be considered negative). This result suggests that several of the most commonly studied entities are negative, while none are positive.
Average usage of positive and negative keywords
Running the keywords through sentiment analyzers allows us to examine whether there are more negative terms and whether the positive words or negative words are utilized more often. The sentiment analyzers we utilized are the Hui and Liu (2004) dictionaries, the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count tool from Pennebaker et al. (2015), and Sentistrength from Thelwall, Buckley, Paltoglou, Cai, and Kappas (2010). Before analyzing the actual terms, it is interesting to note that all three of these well standardized sentiment analysis tools have more negative words in their dictionaries than positive words, suggesting a bias either in general or in the tools researchers use to study language (Boucher & Osgood, 1969). All three sentiment analyzers find more negative words in the keywords than positive keywords.
More than simply finding more negative words in the dataset, the negative keywords were utilized significantly more (all Fs greater than 15), no matter which analyzer we utilized (Table 2). This result is particularly surprising given that the groups of negative words are consistently larger than the positive keyword groups and one could expect a sort of regression to the mean, if there was nothing going on (Galton). Other results examine within subfields (e.g., emotion research) with negative emotions being studied more than positive emotions.
All in all the results suggest that negative concepts are studied more, providing support for the notion that science is most generally a problem solving enterprise. Such evidence empiricizes Seligman’s (1998) APA presidential address suggesting that psychology has focused too exclusively on problems, and suggests we can learn about psychology and science by looking at psychological processes within the context of science.
P02: State Anxiety in Virtual Reality vs Real Life – Evaluation of a Public Speaking Training Application
Ilmenau University of Technology, Germany
Introduction: Public speaking skills are essential for the majority of professions as well as in everyday life. Virtual reality (VR) public speaking training applications are a promising possibility to improve public speaking skills. However, to be effective and successful, VR training applications should evoke levels of state anxiety in virtual reality that are comparable to those in real-life situations (Slater & Wilbur, 1997).
Objective: This study investigated whether state anxiety evoked through a VR public speaking application is equivalent to state anxiety reported retrospectively from real-life public speaking situations.
Method: A cross-sectional non-experimental study was conducted with N = 40 participants (62.5% male, 37.5% female, M age = 25.60, SD = 6.29) who gave informed consent. Participants used a public speaking training application. The Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) Y-6-item short form (Marteau & Bekker, 1992) was employed to assess participants’ state anxiety during a VR presentation (sum score from 20 to 80). The same measure was used to retrospectively assess the state anxiety that participants remembered from real-life presentations. State anxiety in VR and real-life were compared with two-sided paired-samples t-tests. As the aim was equivalence testing between state anxiety in VR and real life, the significance level was set as α = .10 in order to control for type 2 error. Post hoc test power was 1 – β = .78.
Results: The total state anxiety score while presenting in VR (M(VR) = 41.42, SD(VR) = 11.27) was lower than the total state anxiety score for retrospective self-report of real-life situations with a medium effect (M(Real) = 46.25, SD(Real) = 11.72; t(39) = -2.44, p = .019; d = 0.33). In order to determine which aspects of state anxiety contributed to this difference, item-based paired-samples t-tests were conducted, using Bonferroni adjusted significance levels of α = .017 per test to compensate for type 1 error inflation. Findings revealed that participants felt less worried and more relaxed while presenting in VR compared to real-life situations.
Discussion: Presenting in a VR public speaking application evoked lower state anxiety than retrospective self-report of state anxiety in real-life situations. These findings could explain why VR expositions are more acceptable than in-vivo expositions. Still, the evaluation of real-life public speaking situations was assessed solely with retrospective self-report. This may have resulted in imprecise measurements. The study was also underpowered. However, the virtual environment was likely too unrealistic to evoke equivalent levels of state anxiety. Realism of the application should be improved. Future evaluations of the application should also use experimental designs with sufficient test power in order to investigate equivalence of state anxiety in VR with state anxiety during real-life presentations.
Marteau, T. U., & Bekker, H. (1992). The Development of a Six-item Short-Form of the State Scale of the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 31:301-306.
Slater, M., & Wilbur, S. (1997). A Framework for Immersive Virtual Environments (FIVE): Speculations on the Role of Presence in Virtual Environments. Presence: Teleoperators And Virtual Environments, 6(6), 603-616.
P03: „I’m in a dream…“ - What does Westworld’s virtual reality teach us about cultural and psychic realities?
1Psychologische Hochschule Berlin, Germany; 2Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Germany
For several years TV series have been showcased by tremendous public attention: Feature articles praise single shows as well as the medium in general. Not only have these series been coined the „new cinema“ but also the „new literature“ – with critics asking for awarding one or the other with literary prizes for their innovative and/or complex narrative form and character development. As of now, TV series have transcended the borders of their original broadcast medium, often appearing not on television but in online streams.
When, as in Mad Men, we listen to a mother repeatedly telling her young daughter „Sally, go watch TV!“, this is to be understood as a self-directed reference as well as a means of communicating with the viewers. At the same time, it reveals that TV series should not only be seen as a cultural phenomenon but also as picking cultural phenomena and processes as their subject matter. Hence, contemporary TV series are recognized for their exploration of human interaction at both a micro and macro social level. The Wire has been interpreted as a portrait of the American city, as a means to analyze social tension and developments – and as such it has entered the field of sociological research. The interdependence of character studies and cultural analysis in TV series can be highlighted: While taking both individuals and society as a theme the one is being viewed through the lense of the other (e.g. when True Detective can be taken as a study in character, masculinity, or of the state of the US).
Thus, TV series are evolving to become a relevant subject matter for applied or application-orientated (media) psychology. To take into account general psychology, social psychology or personality psychology opens up a pathway for studying the links between aesthetic response (including the culture of viewing TV series itself) and the analysis of TV series as artistic and medial products (including, as a small part, psychological analyses of single characters).
Our methodical approach follows from a specific assumption. An examination of cultural or social phenomena (1. TV series as such; 2. Those phenomena explored by them) itself proceeds along the methodological lines of using the reflection of social phenomena – by means of interpretation or focus groups. Following the methodical approach of „depth hermeneutics“ (Lorenzer, König) one can argue that those cultural (macro social) tensions which are being dealt with on both a manifest and a latent level in a work of art or cultural product enact themselves in the micro social situation of an methodological assessment by a group of researchers. Among these tensions it is the latent ones structuring the work of art or the cultural product which are brought into focus most prominently. Group phenomena within such an interpretation group can be viewed as shedding light on something inherent in the subject matter in question.
These latent elements which are made accessible and conceivable touch upon what single TV series revolve around on a social/cultural level but also what is thematic as a part of „psychic reality“, on an individual level. Erdheim, among other authors, has built his notion of a „culturally unconscious“ on these grounds, i.e. something which is unconscious to various members of a social group since they share the same psychical defence mechanisms.
In an explorative attempt at concretization of these broad notions we approach the show Westworld (HBO, 2016-) in a research group working depth-hermeneutically. The show depicts some sort of „theme park“ which offers their visitors to interact with androids („hosts“) who are populating it – up to acts of (sexual) violence. The hosts are manufactured and programmed as certain „personalities“. In the course of events (so far spanning one season with ten episodes) „malfunctions“ occur in the hosts‘ programming which basically enable them to feel and remember.
In our research group we chose a depth-hermeneutical approach by conducting (and audiotaping) group discussions for each of the ten episodes. By doing so interruptions or irritations within the group process are being made accessible which are thought to point at the tension between the interpretandum‘s manifest and latent meaning. By taking into account and reflecting the micro social processes occuring among the research group’s members (e.g. diverging ways of perceiving the show, intense affects, non-understanding) hypotheses on how breaches between manifest and latent meaning can be understood are being formed and out out. Eventually, something can be said about which themes Westworld explores – alongside the rather broad and manifest themes such as human destructiveness, or the illusion of being able to control AI, this will lead to aspects Westworld also stages: female bodies and empowerment, dealing with personal history as processes of mourning etc. Thus, it can be explored how by embedding it in the virtual world Westworld also helps to explore concrete social reality as well as individual psychic conflicts.
The depth-hermeneutical analysis of Westworld is exemplary of an approach to analyze the relation between individuals and society in contemporary TV series and its possible results (which include artistic form). One should also bear in mind that this is after all an interdisciplinary endeavour which has to include a media studies stance.
Four notions will have to be argued for:
1. TV series have gained special attention for the past years because they transmit both character studies and cultural analyses. They can be seen as forms of analyzing psychic and social structures in their own right (empirical-descriptive level)
2. A media psychology approach should and will examine the interdependence between analyzing aesthetic response and analyzing the artistic/medial product (level of media psychology’s subject matter)
3. The cultural phenomenon of TV series with its subject matter of cultural processes (being intertwined with an individual level) (macro social) is open to a methodological approach which favouring reflections of the processes within a research group (micro social) (methodological level).
4. Taking Westworld as an example it will be discussed which consequences there are for cultural and psychic realities (level of results)
P04: Emotional Differences in viewing VR and 2D films
1Beijing Normal University, China, People's Republic of; 2the Chinese University of Hong Kong,People's Republic of China
Virtual reality (VR) is an emerging media but hardly is there any research technique developed in the field to measure its effect. As VR technique has been increasingly used in film, a comparison between films applying VR technique and those traditional (2D) films could be a possible way to find out the additional variance due to the VR technique. In this study, we focus on measuring the emotional experiences due to VR technique. By measure of a controlled experiment, this study specifically compares the physiological and psychological effects of a VR film and that of a 2D film. 31 healthy Chinese college students were enrolled from the universities. A Disney animated film was selected. Virtual Reality Film clips were downloaded from the website. We edited 2D film clips to match the VR film clips according to the scenes and sound. Before and after watching the films, subjects were asked to fill in a mood scale. In the VR condition, the participants watched the film clips by Oculus Headset. Both in VR condition and 2D condition, the physiological index SKT is recorded by BIOPAC MP150 wireless equipment. The results showed that SKT is significant lower in VR condition than in 2D condition for both film clips (clip 1: F=10.125, p<0.05; clip 2: F=10.4, p<0.05). Lower SKT value in VR condition reflects more negative emotion reaction. The physiological result is consistent with the declining tendency of PANAS scores. Higher negative affect scores in VR condition mean more negative emotion experience. Our study provides a new proof that VR movie technique has significant influence on emotional physiological reaction compared with traditional screen movies. In future, the influence of this new technique on human’s cognition and emotion needs more attention from researchers.
P05: When R2-D2 hops off the screen: The effects of different presentation modes of a humanoid service robot on user experience
1Universtität Koblenz-Landau, Germany; 2Ars Electronica Futurelab, Linz, Austria
Over the next decade, many people will have their first encounter with a service robot. Service robots are often designed to communicate with humans in humanlike ways and assist them in various aspects of their daily routine. Potential areas of application range from hospitals and nursing homes to hotels and private households. At the same time, many people are still sceptical about the idea of sharing their personal lives with robots, especially so when it comes to machines of highly humanlike appearance.
To date, however, most people still only know such robots from the Internet or the TV screen. Yet, numerous studies on human robot interaction relied on video material to introduce robots to potential users. It is questionable if the results of these studies are transferable to the lived reality. To investigate effects of presentation mode on users’ evaluation of service robots we conducted a field experiment.
One-hundred-and-twenty participants (n=62 women; Mage = 30.63, SDage = 12.86) took part in the current field experiment. They observed Roboy, a service robot, either in a
2D video, a 3D video, through a head mounted virtual reality display, or in real life. The participants who got to meet Roboy in real-life observed an interaction between Roboy and an actor, introduced as technical staff. We opted for an actor to ensure that the interaction scene was constant over time. The other three groups watched a video-recorded version of the same scripted scene that was shot and adapted to fit 2D, 3D, or virtual reality. Perceived realness, human-likeness, eeriness, likeability, agency, emotionality, and the participants’ intention to buy Roboy served as dependent variables.
Results indicate that observing a live interaction or alternatively encountering the robot in a virtual reality lead to more perceived realness than observing the robot in 2D or 3D (F(3, 116) = 7.08, p < .001, η2 = .16). Furthermore, the presentation mode influenced perceived human-likeness (F(3, 116) = 2.67, p = .051, , η2 = .07). Participants who observed a real human robot interaction reported the highest perceived human-likeness. It was particularly interesting that participants who were introduced to Roboy in virtual reality perceived the robot as less human-like than participants who watched a live human robot interaction (p = .04), whereas these two groups did not differ with regard to perceived realness. There was no significant influence of experimental condition on perceived eeriness,
sympathy, and purchase intention, Fs < 1.88, ps > .12).
The present study provides support for the notion that the way a robot is introduced
influences how it is perceived by potential human users. These results have relevant implications regarding prior findings that addressed real live interactions but investigated 2D videos.
P06: How team play and communication frequency influence the gaming experience: A self-determination-theory based laboratory experiment on multiplayer first-person shooters.
1University of Münster, Germany; 2University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Several studies on computer and video games have found evidence that playing together in multiplayer modes with human fellow players positively influences the gaming experience and for example leads to more enjoyment, flow, challenge and positive affect than playing in single-player modes or against the computer (e.g. Mandryk & Inkpen, 2004; Ravaja et al., 2006; Weibel et al., 2008; Gajadhar et al., 2008, 2009). The current study aims at augmenting these findings by 1. investigating social facets of multiplayer first-person shooters (as a genre of games that has rarely been examined concerning social aspects) and 2. testing a structural model based on self-determination theory (SDT) to provide a deeper understanding of the psychological mechanisms that underlie the positive effects the presence of human fellow players has. The main idea of SDT is that human beings have three innate psychological needs (competence, relatedness, autonomy) and that fulfilling these needs is knit to positive psychological outcomes (e.g. Deci & Ryan, 2000; with regard to gaming: e.g. Ryan et al., 2006; Tamborini et al., 2010). The model tested in the current study is based on these assumptions and hypothesizes that team play and interactions with fellow players are positively connected with the satisfaction of the needs for competence and relatedness and that need satisfaction, in turn, is positively related to increases in the players’ well-being and game enjoyment.
The study was realized as a laboratory experiment with 139 participants that played the multiplayer first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Source in teams of 4 to 5 human players against equally sized teams of computer opponents. To manipulate the amount of team play and communication, participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: sitting in separate rooms without seeing and hearing each other, sitting in separate rooms using a voice communication tool or playing co-located together in one room. The participants filled out questionnaires before and after playing for 20 minutes. The SDT-based structural model was tested with SPSS Amos (maximum likelihood estimation).
Results and conclusions
ANOVA revealed that the amount of communication and team play varied significantly between the different experimental conditions. Structural equation modeling confirmed the SDT-based hypotheses: Communication frequency and team play were positively connected to the satisfaction of the needs for competence and relatedness, and need satisfaction, in turn, was positively connected to increases in well-being and game enjoyment. Further, bootstrapping revealed significant indirect effects of team play and communication frequency (via need satisfaction) on well-being and enjoyment.
Taken together these results indicate that also within the supposedly unsocial first-person shooters social facets and interactions with fellow players positively influence the gaming experience. The SDT-based model further shows that these positive effects can (at least partly) be explained by the satisfaction of essential psychological needs. In this, the study usefully augments existing studies on computer and videogames by providing an empirically-based rationale for the positive effects the presence of human fellow players can have. The results further offer a plausible explanation for the popularity of multiplayer gaming in general.
P07: Avatar Sex Moderates Aggression in Violent Video Games, But Only for Women
1University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg; 2Medical School Hamburg, Germany
Three studies tested findings reported by Yang, Huesmann, and Bushman (2014) that playing a male avatar in a violent video game leads to greater aggression than playing a female avatar in the same game. The male avatar effect was confirmed in Study 1 (N=79) for post-game aggression: compared to playing a female character, participants who had played the male fighter in a violent mixed martials arts game chose more Hot Sauce for another participant who allegedly disliked spicy food. In contrast to Yang et al. (2014), however, the male avatar effect was qualified by participant sex, indicating that the effect was more strongly pronounced and only significant for female participants. A similar interaction effect was observed in Study 2 (N=76) and Study 3 (N=70) for in-game aggression: only female participants playing a male avatar showed a greater hit ratio in a mixed martials arts game (Study 2) or a greater number of attacks in a brawler game (Study 3) than their colleagues who played a female avatar. At this stage, the reason for this cross-gender effect is unclear. Given that games allow for behavior (i.e., aggression) independent of socially shared gender norms, we may speculate that for women, male avatars may provide the opportunity to “step out” of prevailing social norms regarding non-aggressive female behavior and adopt the role of the (hyper-)aggressive male. However, this hypothesis needs to be tested in future studies.
All three studies additionally tested the mediating effect of male gender stereotype activation that was hypothesized by Yang et al. (2014). In addition to priming violent behavior, and in line with the General Aggression Model, the authors had speculated that playing the male avatar automatically activated male gender stereotypes (i.e., aggressive thoughts and behavior) which then caused aggressive behavior. In order to address this activation hypothesis, we designed an indirect cognitive measure of gender role identity using the Positive-Negative Sex-Role Inventory (PN-SRI: Berger & Krahé, 2013). After participants played the violent game, positive and negative aspects of masculinity and femininity were presented as word fragments in a five-minute response window in Study 1 and 2. Fragment completion rates served as indicators of cognitive activation of male stereotypes. In Study 3, participants used the intact PN-SRI gender attributes to rate the avatar after playing the game. However, both direct and indirect measures failed to corroborate the stereotype activation hypothesis in the present studies: word fragments related to male stereotypes were not completed more often than fragments related to female stereotypes (Study 1 and 2). Also, neither in-game aggression nor success in the game was associated with how masculine participants perceived their fighter (Study 3). At the present stage, thus, the mechanisms underlying the gender effect that participants respond differently when playing a male or female avatar in a violent video game remain unclear.
P08: None of your business? - Can contacts, activity index and similiarties outdo the influence of gender stereotypes?
1Hochschule Ruhr West - University of Applied Sciences, Germany; 2University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Online business networks have become popular as recruiting instruments. Although these networks play an important role in reaching equality of men and women in the job market, only few studies look into their use and impact so far (Anonymous, 2015). In this study we focus on XING, which is especially popular in Germany. XING-profiles typically contain a variety of information about the profile owner. Besides self-generated information, there is system-generated content like the contact list and activity index, as well as information generated by the viewer, i.e. similarities with the profile person. According to the warranting principle, system- and viewer-generated content should be more informative when evaluating a person than self-generated content, and might thus be also successful in mitigating the influence of gender stereotypes. Earlier studies have, for example, shown that women profit from adding higher status persons to their contact lists, since this results in higher competence attributions for women, while men are seen as equally competent regardless of the status of their contacts (Anonymous, 2016). However, no study so far has investigated the differential influence of the above mentioned types of information available and prominently shown in the XING-profile. In a 2x2x2x2 (male/female profile person x high/low number of contacts x high/low activity index x high/low number of similarities)-between-subjects-design this online study examines the attribution of warmth, competence, status and competition from the stereotype content model (Fiske et al., 2002) as well as attributed leadership qualities and hiring probability of the depicted person. Data collection is still in progress. Results are expected by the end of March and will be presented at the conference. Results are discussed against the background of the role of system features in these networks in achieving gender equality in hiring processes.
P09: A street, a couple, and a simple question: Evaluating an Internet-campaign video against sexual prejudice.
Universität Koblenz-Landau, Germany
Although societies’ attitudes and norms towards sexual orientation have drastically changed over the past decades, discrimination and violence against sexual minorities remain and affect their physical and mental well-being (Steffens & Wagner, 2009). Social media are an important tool for minorities, such as LGTBQ-people, to share and disseminate tolerance-promoting messages and videos via the Internet. But despite the popularity of such videos and their advantage of being highly scalable as anti-prejudice interventions, there is a lack of research examining the effectiveness of such media-based interventions to improve intergroup attitudes.
Therefore, this pre-registered study evaluated the effectiveness of an Internet-campaign video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAb_xYVNHOM) that was produced by a Spanish LGTB organization to improve attitudes towards gay men (Federación Estatal LGTB, 2015). Because previous studies of anti-prejudice interventions towards sexual minorities neglected implicit attitude measures (Bartoş, Berger, & Hegarty, 2014), the first aim of this study was to test whether the campaign video improves heterosexuals’ (a) explicit and (b) implicit attitudes towards gay men.
Participants (N=304) were randomly allocated to a control-group design. Participants in the experimental condition were provided with the original campaign video that presents a gay couple visiting Spain and asking Spanish by-passers to translate an email. The video shows how the by-passers read and translate the email showcasing their reactions as they realize the discriminatory and anti-gay nature of the email. Participants in the control condition were provided with an alternative version of the campaign video. The video was muted and the German subtitles were altered such that the control video introduced two brothers facing corruption instead of anti-gay discrimination.
Due to the narrative of the campaign video and previous research demonstrating perspective taking and empathy to successfully affect sexual prejudice (Hodson, Choma, & Costello, 2009), the second aim of the current study was to examine the role of empathy and perspective taking with (a) the two men (gay couple vs. brothers) and (b) with the approached by-passers in the video. We tested whether the video condition (original vs. control) moderated the relationship between empathy (and perspective taking) and attitudes towards gay men.
Bartoş, S. E., Berger, I., & Hegarty, P. (2014). Interventions to reduce sexual prejudice: A study-space analysis and meta-analytic review. Journal of Sex Research, 51(4), 363–82. http://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2013.871625
Federación Estatal LGTB (2015). #ConLaVozBienAlta – FELGTB. Video retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAb_xYVNHOM
Hodson, G., Choma, B. L., & Costello, K. (2009). Experiencing Alien-Nation: Effects of a simulation intervention on attitudes toward homosexuals. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(4), 974–978. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2009.02.010
Steffens, M. C., & Wagner, C. (2009). Diskriminierung von Lesben, Schwulen und Bisexuellen. In A. J. Beelmann & K. J. Jonas (Hrsg.). Diskriminierung und Toleranz: Psychologische Grundlagen und Anwendungsperspektiven. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag. (pp. 241–262). http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-531-91621-7
P11: Effects of Media Portrayals on Readers’ Attitudes towards Homeless People
TU University Dortmund, Germany
Homeless individuals are exposed to high levels of individual, public and institutional stigma-tization (Boster, et al., 2016). As mass media play an important role for cultivating and changing views towards individuals or social groups (e.g., Clement et al., 2013; Sparks, 2012), the current study examines the role of news reports for altering audiences’ perceptions of homeless people. While theoretical approaches such as the exemplification theory (Zillmann & Brosius, 2000) and the vividness hypothesis (Taylor & Thompson, 1982) explain why media portrayals of affected individuals (“exemplars”) can be powerful to change audiences’ views and behavioral intentions towards other people, little is known about the specific portrayal factors that increase or decrease stigmatizing orientations. In order to shed some light on these largely neglected and mostly unintentional media effects, the current study examines the roles of four characteristics of media portrayals of homeless individuals (1. health status, 2. substance abuse, 3. cultural origin, and 4. sex) on audiences’ stigmatizing and prosocial attitudes towards homeless people.
Considering that a large amount of homeless individuals suffer from mental illness (e.g. Kellinghaus et al., 1999), we wondered if this information increases or decreases stigmatiza-tion. Two competitive hypothesis are possible and posited. On the one hand, it can be argued that this “sickness” frame increases empathy and therefore pro-social attitudes and behavior (hypothesis H1a). Yet, mental illnesses are highly stigmatized (Sieff, 2003), which is likely to increase stigmatizing attitudes towards homeless individuals (hypothesis H1b). Building on Weiner’s (1995) attribution-emotion-action theory, we presume that alcohol addiction will increase stigmatization (hypothesis H2), as the homeless individual is likely to be blamed for the decision to consume alcohol. Building on social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986), we assume that homeless exemplars from other cultures (Syria and Rumania) yield higher stigmatization than exemplars from Germany (hypothesis H3). Given the high gender disparity of the phenomenon (80 % of homeless individuals are male), we also explore the effect of the sex of the portrayed individual on stigmatizing attitudes and behavioral intentions.
A 2x2x3x2 between-subjects experimental paper-and-pencil study was conducted to test the hypotheses. Respondents read a news article of about 450 words, which portrayed a homeless person. The exemplar was manipulated with respect to its health status (mental health problem vs. no health problem), substance abuse (alcohol addiction vs. no alcohol addiction), cultural origin (Germany vs. refugee from Syria vs. immigrant from Rumania) and sex (male vs. female). Stigma-related attitudes and behavioral intentions were measured using a short version of Seifert and Bergmann’s (1983) EKB inventory (subscales: perceived discomfort, ascribed functional limitations, and ascribed emotional maladjustment), Angermeyer and Matschinger’s (1995) social distance scale, and the intended behavior towards individuals with a disability scale from Evans-Lacko et al. (2011). Data was collected in January and February 2017, with eight hundred and forty-eight students participating in the study. Data analysis is planned for March 2017. Findings will be discussed with respect to so far largely over-looked stigma-related media priming effects as well as regarding their implications for strategic anti-stigma communication.
P12: How Single-Case Descriptions Affect Teachers’ Attitudes towards Inclusive Education
TU University Dortmund, Germany
The implementation of an inclusive school system in Germany, in which children with and without disabilities learn and play together, is far from being successfully realized and still a widely debated issue (e.g., Wischmann, 2015). Teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion play a crucial role for effective implementation (e.g., Avramidis & Norwich, 2002; De Boer, Pijl & Minnaert, 2011), and are likely shaped by individual cases and anecdotes (e.g., Schwab, Tretter, & Gebhardt, 2013; Zillmann & Brosius, 2000). To examine how single-case descriptions of pupils affect teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education, we conducted two experimental studies with 2×2×3×2 full factorial between-subjects designs. Building on stigma theory (Goffman, 1963) and priming (Molden, 2014), we expect different pupil characteristics to activate positive or negative attitudes towards inclusion. In light of the stigmatization of individuals from different ethnic origins (e.g., Diefenbach, 2010; Stets & Burke, 2000), we also examine how cues of a migrant background affects views towards inclusion.
In study 1, student teachers read a brief vignette about a pupil that was experimentally manipulated with respect to type of disability (no handicap vs. physical vs. intellectual), ethnic origin (German vs. Syrian), conduct disorder (no vs. yes), and gender (male vs. female). Main dependent variables were attitudes towards inclusive education (Lüke & Grosche, 2016) and attitudes towards people with disabilities (Schwabmann & Kreuz, 1999). Four-hundred-sixteen student teachers (M = 24.44 years; SD = 4.10) participated in this study. Results showed that vignettes of children with physical disabilities yielded more positive attitudes towards inclusive education compared to vignettes without a disability. Complex interactions between ethnic origin and type of disability were found, with most positive attitudes towards inclusive education emerging for Syrian pupils with learning disabilities and conduct disorder, compared to German pupils in the same condition. In sum, findings indicate the existence of a priming effect of single-case attributes on teacher students’ attitudes towards inclusive education.
In order to better understand the dynamics of single-case characteristics especially with regard to migration background (e.g., Wischmeier, 2012), study 2 uses a largely similar approach, although with a modified set of manipulations. Disability type was not manipulated, all described pupils suffered from Spina bifida, a congenital neural tube defect. Three ethnic origin conditions were included (Germany vs. Syria vs. Romania) instead of two, and the pupils’ performance was indicated as being either clearly above or below average. Conduct disorder was also manipulated, albeit with more details provided in order to maximize potential effects of this variable. The gender manipulation (male vs. female) remained identical. Data collection for study 2 is expected to be completed in May 2017, and data analysis in June 2017.
Results will be discussed regarding priming effects (e.g., Molden, 2014) of single-case vignettes on student teachers’ general attitudes towards inclusive education, and on the role of pupils’ cultural background in this regard. Implications for student education and for exemplification effects (e.g., Zillmann & Brosius, 2000) on promoting inclusive or exclusive societies are discussed.
P13: Exploring the Relationships between Moral Foundations and Stigmatization
Technische Universität Dortmund, Germany
Moral foundation theory has had a large impact in psychology to explain automatic emotional and intuitive moral judgements and behaviors (Graham et al., 2013). The theory proposes a set of six moral intuitions, which build up people’s moral foundations: harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, in-group/loyalty, authority/respect, purity/sanctity, and liberty/oppression (Haidt & Joseph, 2004). The current study applies that theoretical framework to the topic of stigmatization. We examine if readers’ pro-social and stigmatizing attitudes towards all individuals with a disability are a function of how a single person with a disability (exemplar: Zillmann & Brosius, 2000) is portrayed in a newspaper article. Exemplars can be portrayed as either violating certain moral norms, or as being the victim of such norm violations. The current study focuses on the latter condition, in order to learn if such a moral framing reduces or increases stigmatization (Niemi & Young, 2016). Specifically, we hypothesize that depicted violations of “individualizing values” (salience of care/harm foundation: person who experienced severe losses; salience of fairness/reciprocity foundation: person who has been treated unfairly) are more likely to trigger pro-social attitudes than exemplars experiencing violations of “binding values” (i.e., salience of authority, loyalty, sanctity, or liberty foundation; hypothesis h1; e.g. Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009; Niemi & Young, 2016). We also assume that individuals’ moral foundations play an important role in this context (e.g., Nilsson, Erlandsson, & Västfjäll, 2016). Individuals with an emphasis on the care and fairness foundation are presumed to report less stigmatization than individuals with a low emphasis on these two dimensions (hypotheses h2 and h3). Two competing hypotheses are posited regarding the interaction of readers’ moral intuition and the moral situations depicted in the article. On the one hand, reading about an individual with a disability who experienced a violation of norms that are highly valued by the reader can increase pro-social emotions such as empathy, and thus reduce stigmatizing tendencies (hypothesis h4a). On the other hand, reading about violations of highly valued moral norms can elicit negative affect and victim blaming tendencies, consequently increasing stigmatizing tendencies (hypothesis h4b).
A 6 (type of salient moral violation: harm/care vs. fairness/reciprocity vs. in-group/loyalty vs. authority/respect vs. purity/sanctity vs. liberty/oppression) × 2 (type of disability: physical vs. learning disability) × 2 (gender of portrayed person: male vs. female) between-subject experimental study with N =1,042 respondents was conducted to test these hypotheses. After completing the 30-item moral foundations questionnaire (Graham et al., 2011), respondents read a brief article about a student with a disability. The included article manipulations, which were successfully pretested (N = 52), built on Clifford et al.’s (2015) validated set of moral foundations vignettes. Respondents then competed stigma-related attitude and social distance scales (Schabmann & Kreuz, 1999; Schomerus et al., 2013; Seifert & Bergmann, 1983). Findings will be discussed regarding the relationships of moral salience and stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors, and the roles of exemplars in mass media for shaping pro-social views on individuals with a disability.
P14: Ability or integrity, that is the question. How judgments regarding the trustworthiness of politicians are influenced by information distributed via news media.
University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany
Worldwide, trust in politicians seems to be at an all-time low: In 2016 results of the Ipsos MORI Veracity Index, an annual index of professionals most trusted by the public, show that only 15 percent of the British public trust politicians. Compared to last year, public trust in politicians has yet slipped another six percentage points leaving politicians at the rear end of the list (Ipsos MORI, 2016, p. 2). Similar results are reported by the GfK (2015) for the German public. As mass media serve as a crucial source regarding information on politics and politicians, the current study aims at investigating how information on politicians distributed by news media may promote or hinder the public trust in politicians.
The theoretical framework of our study is the Integrative Model of Organizational Trust by Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman (1995). According to the authors, three characteristics of a trustee—ability, benevolence, and integrity—contribute to his or her perceived trustworthiness by a trustor. Since authors such as Lieberman (1981) promote that judgments regarding the trustworthiness of a trustee are mainly built “on the belief in a professional’s competence and integrity” (as cited by Mayer et al., 2015, p. 716), we specifically focused on the potential impact of these two factors in our study.
In a 2x2 between subjects factorial design conducted with the online survey tool LimeSurvey, participants were asked to read a fictitious article from a regional newspaper on the actions of regional politician. Information presented in the articles varied between high and low ability, respectively high and low integrity of the presented politician. An additional control group received no further information on the ability and integrity of the politician. The manipulated article versions were successfully pretested beforehand. Participants in the main study were randomly assigned to one of the five conditions. After reading the article, participants were asked to rate the trustworthiness of the politician. In addition, personality traits such as Extraversion, Need for Cognitive Closure, Need for Cognition and respondents’ general propensity to trust were taken into consideration as moderating variables and assessed before participants were confronted with the article. Results of our study will be presented at the conference. We assume that both factors (ability and integrity) will influence the perceived trustworthiness, resulting in the highest scores in trust when the politician is portrayed with high ability and high integrity. We also expect respondents’ general propensity to trust to promote judgments of trustworthiness.
P15: ‘Oscillation’ with a Terrorist’s Mindset. Transportation, Identification, and Narrative Assimilation in the Process of Political Radicalization.
Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei, Germany
Acts of terrorism are among the most frequent topics making headlines today. According to the Global Terrorism Index, the number of deaths from terrorism increased by 80 per cent in 2014, making it the largest increase in the last 15 years. In total 32,685 people were killed, including an offset by a 172 per cent increase in the deaths of civilians. Even more scary is how appealing terrorist movements seem to be. Especially ISIS grew large by successfully recruiting ‘foreign fighters’ (Bartoszewicz, 2013). According to estimates, 25,000-30,000 joined the ‘jihad’ in Syria and Iraq since 2011. (Institute for Economics & Peace, 2015)
Recent studies investigating the process of terrorist radicalization (for an overview see Borum, 2011) stress the role of evaluated emotions during radicalization and identify the need for sense-making, interpretation, identification, and belonging as primary motives to turn to a terrorist organization (Hegghammer, 2006; Horgan, 2009; Ilyas, 2013, Kruglanski et al., 2014: Precht, 2007; Venhaus, 2010)
In light of this active search for identity, ‘mainstream’ (news) media might unintentionally be just as dangerous as terrorist propaganda. We particularly see a high threat in narrative content, specifically reportages: Because as the ‘collective narrative assimilation hypothesis’ (Gabriel & Young, 2011) states, narratives are a mode of sense-making that targets our social selves. We easily assimilate to the identities portrayed out of our need to belong. Moreover, there is evidence that vivid narratives facilitate ‘transportation’ into the story world and that transported recipients adopt the (fictitious) characters’ reasoning (de Graaf et al., 2012), or even their mental abilities (Appel, 2011). So, even if a report condemns terrorist actions, vulnerable recipients might still pick up latent terrorist sentiments if the mode of presentation offers perceptual cues and insights from the terrorists’ perspective.
Terrorism researchers themselves emphasize the potentially fatal power of narrations, particularly when no additional ‘counter-narration’ is told that offers alternatives to an identification with terrorists (Leuprecht et al., 2009, 2010). Hence, we argue that the mechanisms of narrative assimilation operate easier on individuals who feel particularly deprived about fundamental social needs and when a storyline features no counter-narrative (see figure 1).
Our poster presents findings from two phases of a research project that aims at testing this catalyst function of narrative features. We provide results from an exploratory content analysis of reportages on the German-Ghanaian hip-hop artist Deso Dogg (born Denis Cuspert) who quit his career to join the IS. Though framed as explicitly anti-terrorist, much of the coverage on Cuspert’s radicalization relies indeed on techniques that promote an “oszillation” (Collier, 2015) with his mindset. Furthermore, almost all of these reports lack a successful counter-narrative to offer anti-terrorist alternatives for identification. Based on these findings, we conducted an online field experiment (featuring a mockup website) to test the actual effects of different degrees of narrativity in these reports on identification with Cuspert and changes in the (implicit) terrorism latency (operationalized via the violent political radicalization scale, see McCauley, 2013). The data evaluation for this second phase is currently in progress.
P16: Televised News:The Effects of the ticker and additional images on political attitudes
1University of Social Science and Humanities, Poland; 2University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam School of Communication Research, The Netherlands
Televised broadcast news continue being the most important source of information for majority of citizens in majority of countries. Adapting to the ever-changing media environment, journalistic material presented on TV is enriched with graphic elements, such as additional videos or images or fast-moving tickers on the bottom of the screen, an important news source for young people (Al Zahyani, 2015). For instance, in 2001 CNN introduced a continuous news crawl in their information service. Adding news tickers or photos to the main video material may facilitate viewers’ understanding of the content, but it can also lead to misinformation. Because visual information is often inconsistent with the accompanying verbal messages (Grabe & Bucy, 2009), tickers in TV news may lower the amount of remembered information (Grimes, et. al., 2005).
Despite some preliminary research, it is unknown what specific aspects of the coverage, whether the voiceover, the tickers on the bottom of the screen, or the added visuals, most strongly affect public opinion is not currently known. In a series of experiments we tested how exposure to a mock televised news segment, with systematically manipulated tickers and images, impacts the perception of a fictitious person. A student sample (N=600) from a large private Polish university was randomly assigned to see different versions of a professional journalistic video material about a candidate for a local mayor varied in terms of (1) voiceover (positive, negative, or ambivalent toward the politician) and (2) the accompanying tickers or images (positive or negative ). Following exposure, subjects assessed the politician in terms of agency, sociability, and morality (i.e., Mignon,et al., 2016). Results suggest that the public opinion assessment depends on the tone of the voiceover and visual elements. In the ambivalent voiceover condition, positive images and unexpectedly, negative tickers, led to a positive assessment one all three dimensions, in the negative voiceover condition – we obtained a similar results for perceived morality and sociability of the politician. The tickers and images did not have any effects in the positive voiceover condition. These results emerged when controlling for social trust, information recall or attitudes toward media. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.
P17: Does social media spilled out people into the streets randomly?: Effects of Identity-Leadership and Identification on participating in Gezi Park Protests
Dokuz Eylül University, Turkey
“Revolution will not be televised it will be tweeted”
This slogan become a symbol of the collective actions organized via social media in many places that swept with public anger like from Tahrir Square to Wall Street, Taksim Gezi Park to Puerta de Sol and beyond.
However, social media does not spilled people out into the streets randomly or unpredictable. Contrary, this study argued that there is an intragroup process on the basis of the common social identity. It is also argued that evaluation of social media posts (e.g. tweets) in accordance with the dimensions of Identity-Leadership (Haslam, Reicher, & Platow, 2011) such as group prototypicality and identity entrepreneurship play an important role. To addresses these arguments a retrospective survey study conducted in context of Gezi Park Protests and a model in which identification predicts participation Gezi Park protest with the calls from different types of social media accounts as well as group prototypicality and identity entrepreneurship mediate this relation is tested. This study focused the role of identification on participating collective action with the calls from three different types of social media accounts. These social media accounts are (1) fake and anonymous accounts, (2) Institutions’ accounts (NGOs, political parties, etc.) and (3) celebrities’ accounts.
The sample comprised 403 (147 men, 256 women) adult citizens of Turkey who participated Gezi Park demonstrations, with a mean age of 28.9 (range = 18-64, SD = 8.74).
Group Identification was measured by four 5-point Likert-type items inspired by items of Cameron’s (2004) Identification Scale.
Participation to the demonstrations following the call of social media owners was measured by five 5-point Likert-type items. Participants were asked "how often did you participated in the protests of the following social media accounts?" (Two items for social media accounts that belong to institutions such as political parties and NGOs, two items for fake and anonymous social media accounts and one item for social media accounts that belong to celebrities).
Identity-Leadership Inventory Participants were asked to think of a single social media account that called to participate to the demonstrations during the Gezi Park resistance, which was followed most frequently. The participants were required to evaluate this single channel regarding the two dimensions of Identity-Leadership Inventory by Steffens et al. (2014) and adopted into Turkish by researchers.
The goodness of fit statistics of the analysis showed that χ2= 3.58, df = 2, p > .05, χ2 / df= 1.79, GFI= .99; AGFI= .97; CFI= .99; RMSEA= .044. As a result of model testing, identification with Gezi Park protesters directly predicts participation to the protests by following the call of fake/anonymous accounts, institutions’ accounts, and celebrities’ accounts. It also predicts the prototypicality and entrepreneurship significantly. Prototypicality predicts participation to the protests by following the call of institutions’ accounts, and celebrities’ accounts significantly, but not fake/anonymous accounts. Entrepreneurship predicts participation to the protests by following the call of fake/anonymous accounts, and celebrities’ accounts, but not institutions’ accounts.
P18: Young adults coping with terrorism conveyed via the media. A qualitative survey about coping strategies and the meaning of the media following the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015.
University of Passau, Germany
At least since the terrorist attacks in Paris (2015) and in Berlin (2016) the fear of terrorism reached Germany. Terrorist attacks are news with the highest news value because of the high relevance for the public which results to a large number of media reports. But which effects have terror news on the person’s mental health? So far, the research regarding coping strategies and the consequences for a person’s mental health following terrorist attacks and terror news concentrates on primary and secondary victims in the USA and Israel. The results showed e. g. feelings of fear and symptoms of PTSD. But how do people cope with terrorism in a country that mostly remained spared of bigger terrorist attacks like Germany? The question is answered by using a qualitative survey among eight young Germans by asking about their media use and coping strategies after the Paris attacks. The telephone interviews took place in May 2016. The interviewees were between 21 and 26 years old, well-educated, lived in small villages up to big cities like Berlin and had different jobs (e. g. police man, remedial therapist or journalist).
The results show for example: The more terrorism is part of the interviewees’ lives (through media use, their job or place of residence), the higher they rate the danger of this threat in general. To cope with the Paris attacks, they primarily searched for information on the internet, on TV and social media, they talked about it and believed in a remote likelihood for themselves to die in a terrorist attack. They used ergo one problem-focused and two emotion-focused coping strategies. But they summarized that they did not change their daily behavior or media use after the Paris attacks except immediately after the attacks where they wanted to get more information. According to the respondents, it was not difficult to cope with the Paris attacks which may be due to the problem of social desirability. The main reasons they gave were spatial distance to Paris and the fact that France is not their native country. If terrorist attacks to a similar extant would happen in Germany, the interviewees were not sure about their reactions. Some of them suspected to be more scared or to avoid the place where it happened. But in the end, nobody of the interviewees seemed to be a secondary victim, like it was shown in some research after 9/11 in the USA.
Nevertheless, the interviews showed that terrorism is an important topic of interpersonal and public communication as well as that the media could be helpful to cope with terrorist attacks on the one hand. On the other hand, the reporting of the media was criticized to be confusing and too intensive. As there are no common regulations for reporting on terrorism and because of the important role of the media in coping with terrorism more research need to be done.
P19: Preschool Teacher’s Beliefs about Young Children’s learning with Touch-Screen Media
1Universitaet Oldenburg Germany; 2Universitaet Oldenburg Germany
Teachers’ beliefs have become a prominent topic in education and educational psychology over the last few years (Fives & Gregoire, 2015). It is evident that implicit and explicit beliefs guide motivation, emotions, reactions and actions as well as goals and decisions of human beeings. In classrooms teacher beliefs serve as a filter, a frame or a guide for decisions and actions (Fives & Buehl, 2012). Therefore our study will focus on preschool teachers’ beliefs about young children learning with digital media.
Touch Screen Media are increasingly entering the “private” life of toddlers and young children. Although there is an evident change in childrens´digital media use over the last years, preschool teachers don’t react to these changes in their daily practices. In preschools media activities are still focused on “classic” media like picture books or the (critical) reflection of children’s different media experience (Brüggemann et al., 2013; Friedrichs 2013).
Several studies (e. g. Brüggemann et al., 2013; Friedrichs, 2013) investigated preschool teachers’ and teacher students’ attitudes towards digital-media-use in institutions for young children. Though most teachers have the opinion that media education is an important part of their work in preschool, digital-media-use is seen critical (Brüggemann et al., 2013; Friedrichs, 2013). No differences occurred in the opinions of teacher students and teachers with high professional experiences.
Still little is known about the reasons why digital media use is rejected. Brüggemann, Averbeck, & Breiter (2013, p. 56) assume missing competences in pedagogical media-use. Additionally the topic is a central part in teacher education (also see Friedrichs, 2013). None of these studies focus on teachers’ and teacher students’ beliefs about learning with technological advices in preschools. We expect that the teachers’ beliefs about costs and benefits will have a tremendous influence on the use of media in practice.
We are planning an explorative mixed methods study with up to 30 preschool teacher students and preschool teachers with professional experiences. A questionnaire will be based on the work of Schneider et al. (2010) about media competence of preschool teachers. Additionally we will interview 5-10 respondents in semi-structured interviews to get an in-depth look into their beliefs. First results will be presented at the conference.
Brüggemann, M., Averbeck, I., & Breiter, A. (2013). Förderung von Medienkompetenz in Bremer Kindertageseinrichtungen. Bremen: Landesmedienanstalt.
Friedrichs, H. (2013). Der medienerzieherische Habitus angehender ErzieherInnen und Bedingungen für die Ausübung von Medienerziehung in Kindertagesstätten. medienimpulse, (4), 1/1-17/17. http://www.medienimpulse.at/articles/view/611
Fives, H., & Buehl, M. M. (2012). Spring cleaning for the “messy” construct of teachers’ beliefs. In K. R. Harris (Eds.), APA educational psychology handbook, Vol. 2, (pp. 471–499). Washington, D.C.: APA.
Fives, H. & Gregoire Gill, M. (2015). International handbook of research on teacher beliefs. New York: Routledge.
Schneider, B., Scherer, H., Gonser, N., & Tiele, A. (2010). Medienpädagogische Kompetenz in Kinderschuhen. Berlin: Vistas.
P20: Rotate It - Effekte touchbasierter Interaktion auf mobilen Endgeräten beim Lösen räumlicher Aufgaben im Mathematikunterricht der Sekundarstufe
1Bauhaus-Universtät Weimar, Germany; 2Hochschule Flensburg
Mobile Geräte mit Touchscreens wie Tablets werden zunehmend in Schulklassen eingesetzt. Die Vorteile der Tablet-Nutzung beim computerbasierten Lernen liegen zum Einen in der Mobilität der Geräte und einem ortsunabhängigen Online-Zugriff auf Lernsoftware.
Aus psychologischer Perspektive ist es allerdings von besonderem Interesse, wie sich verschiedene Modi der Interaktion mit dem Lernmaterial (z. B. touch-basierte Gesten auf Tablets) auf den Erfolg und die Motivation der Lernenden auswirken.
In verschiedenen Studien konnte gezeigt werden, dass sich der Einsatz von Gesten beim Lösen räumlicher Aufgaben vorteilhaft auf den Lösungserfolg auswirkt. Dieser Effekt konnte teilweise auch für den Einsatz von Gesten in der Interaktion mit technischen Geräten (z. B. mit 2D- und 3D-Darstellungen) gezeigt werden, jedoch existieren kaum Studien zum Einsatz von Touchgesten auf mobilen Endgeräten und deren Effekten auf Lösungserfolg, Motivation, mentale Anstrengung und zeitliche Effizienz.
In der präsentierten Studie wurde im Rahmen des Mathematikunterrichts 7. Klassen der Sekundartstufe untersucht, welchen Effekt die touchbasierte Interaktion auf mobilen Endgeräten mit dynamischen räumlichen Aufgaben im Vergleich zu mentalen räumlichen Aufgaben hat. .
In der App „Rotate IT“ wurden einen touchbasierte-dynamische (rotierbare) und eine mentale-statische Version der Aufgaben in einem Within- Between-Subject-Designs untersucht.
Die Schüler (N = 59) bearbeiteten beide Aufgabentypen, jedoch in unterschiedlicher Reihenfolge. Bei der Bearbeitung der Aufgaben wurden die Eingaben der Schüler hinsichtlich der Gestensteuerung aufgezeichnet und anschließend ausgewertet. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass der dynamisch touch-basierte Interaktionsmodus das Lösen der Aufgaben bezüglich Erfolgsquote, Motivation sowie mentaler und zeitlicher Effizienz signifikant verbessert. Zudem gibt es erste Hinweise darauf, dass Schüler, welche bei den statischen Aufgabentypen ein schlechteres Ergebnis aufweisen, im dynamischen Interaktionsmodus ein anderes Lösungsverhalten zeigen, um fehlende mentale Fähigkeiten zu kompensieren.
P21: Two sides of the same story? One-sided vs. two-sided narratives in the context of extremism prevention
1University of Cologne, Germany; 2University of Mannheim, Germany
Various political and societal organizations aim at challenging antidemocratic, extremist messages with different concepts of so-called counter-narratives. Some (1) offer alternative perspectives (e.g., tolerance, freedom), others (2) try to decipher and deconstruct extremist narratives to counteract radical messages (Briggs & Feve, 2013). While (1) include one-sided narratives—as only one (positive, prosocial) message is delivered—(2) may be defined as two-sided narratives—as they contain two controversial perspectives (i.e., extremist perspective and its deconstruction).
Research has shown that narratives are effective tools for persuasion (e.g., Slater & Rouner, 2002) by fostering identification with protagonists and transportation into the narrative. Studies focusing on the persuasive potential of one-sided messages found that transportation and identification influence the adoption of beliefs matching with those in the narrative. Research on the impact of narratives containing controversial two-sided messages on attitudes is scarce (Cohen, Tal-Or, & Mazor-Tregerman, 2015). However, Cohen and colleagues (2015) found that identification with a concordant character polarizes attitudes, whereas attitudes of people who identified with a discordant character and who were transported into a two-sided narrative were tempered. Authors speculate that a controversial two-sided narrative may create less reactance—as the narrative features a character representing one’s own opinion—that, in turn, may foster their transportation into the narrative finally leading to tempered attitudes. Until now it remains open if one-sided or two-sided narratives about controversial topics engender more transportation and which role identification may play for this interplay. These questions are especially relevant regarding the construction of counter-narratives in the context of extremism prevention.
We employed a 2(one-sided/two-sided narrative) x 2(identification with a pro-refugee character/non-identification) between-subjects experimental design using a controversial discussed topic (how to deal with the increasing number of refugees in Germany). Participants answered a questionnaire regarding their attitudes (pre/post), their identification with the (featured/non-featured) characters, transportation as well as reactance (post). Based on a preliminary sample of n=132 (Mage=34.39,SDage=14), we found that identification was higher with the pro-refugee character in the two-sided/pro-refugee than in the one-sided/pro-refugee condition. Moreover, people who held higher positive attitudes regarding refugees perceived less reactance when they read the two-sided/pro-refugee narrative as compared to those in the one-sided/pro-refugee condition. Nevertheless, one-sided messages featuring the pro-refugee character seem to foster positive attitudes compared to similar two-sided messages. Further results, theoretical and practical implications will be discussed.
 Data collection is still ongoing and shall be finished at the date of the conference. We further aim to include identification with an “against-refugee character” as additional condition (see Cohen et al., 2015).
P22: Triggers of State Communication Anxiety in a Virtual Public Speaking Training Application – An Experimental Study
TU Ilmenau, Germany
Introduction: Public speaking skills are essential in many professions. Communication anxiety is a common problem, but virtual reality (VR) public speaking applications are a promising training possibility. Triggering state communication anxiety in VR is required for effective training. State communication anxiety can be triggered either by negative virtual audience behavior (Pertaub, Slater, & Barker, 2000) or by individual high level of trait communication anxiety (Slater, Pertaub, Barker, & Clark, 2006). However, the combined effect of trait communication anxiety and audience behavior is scarcely researched.
Objective: This study investigated whether subjects with high trait anxiety confronting a negative audience show the highest state anxiety in a VR public speaking application, i.e., whether an interaction effect between virtual audience behavior (positive vs. negative) and trait communication anxiety (low vs. high) exists.
Method: A 2×2 between-subject laboratory study was conducted with N = 39 undergraduate students (51 % women, Mage = 26.23 years, SDage = 3.04) who gave informed consent.
The experimental factor audience behavior was operationalized as positive (affirmative actions; e.g., nodding) versus negative audience behavior (non-affirmative actions, e.g., frowning).
Trait anxiety was measured by the trait anxiety subtest of the Communication Anxiety Inventory (CAI; scale from 1 = not at all to 4 = very much so; Booth-Butterfield & Gould, 1986). A median split was used to create an observed factor (low anxiety vs. high anxiety, Md = 2.43).
The dependent variable state anxiety was assessed by the state anxiety subtest of the CAI (scale from 1 = not at all to 4 = very much so).
Results: Neither an interaction effect nor a main effect of audience behavior on state anxiety was revealed. High trait anxiety led to higher state anxiety (M = 2.48, SD = 0.50) than low trait anxiety (M = 2.06, SD = 0.53; F(1, 35) = 5.03, p = .031, ηp2 = .13).
Discussion: In line with the current state of research, high trait communication anxiety triggered higher state communication anxiety in a VR public speaking training application. However, audience behavior showed no effect, and no interaction effect was revealed. Audience behavior possibly did not differ enough between both conditions, thereby creating a weak treatment impact. Furthermore, trait anxiety conditions were created via median split with a student sample. Individuals with very high trait anxiety (or even public speaking phobia) could show different effects. Future studies should both include this target group and create more distinguishable virtual audiences (e.g., including disturbing behavior) in order to test for possible interaction effects.
Booth‐Butterfield, S., & Gould, M. (1986). The communication anxiety inventory: Validation of state‐and context‐communication apprehension. Communication Quarterly, 34(2), 194–205. doi:10.1080/01463378609369633
Pertaub, D.-P., Slater, M., & Barker, C. (2002). An experiment on public speaking anxiety in response to three different types of virtual audience. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 11(1), 68–78. doi:10.1162/105474602317343668
Slater, M., Pertaub, D.-P., Barker, C., & Clark, D. M. (2006). An experimental study on fear of public speaking using a virtual environment. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 9, 627–633. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9.627
P23: Effects of Perceived Topic Characteristics and Mortality Salience on Willingness to Contribute to Wikipedia
Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM), Germany
Motivational factors have considerable impact on contributions to online learning communities (Hars & Ou, 2002). They have the ability to influence the internalization process, that is, the processing and integration of encountered information into existing cognitive structures (Cress & Kimmerle, 2008). In the study presented here, we examined the effects of two motivational factors on willingness to contribute to Wikipedia articles: perceived topic characteristics and mortality salience.
Topic characteristics such as controversiality and familiarity both have a strong impact on learning behavior. Evidence suggests that controversial topics are generally more attractive and drive long conversations on the subject in online communities (Sobkowicz & Sobkowicz, 2010). Familiar topics are also more appealing for learners in general, due to activating relevant experiences and less cognitive load (Oller, 1995). Such characteristics may therefore be assumed to enhance people’s willingness to make contributions.
Mortality salience is a state that occurs when people are reminded of their own mortality, and leads them to act more conservatively (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986). Within a learning platform, one may expect a mortality induction to hinder willingness to contribute by decreasing learners’ motivation to engage in learning activities.
Eighty-three participants (Mage = 26.40; 53 females) took part in an experimental study where they first rated 20 different Wikipedia topics in terms of controversiality and familiarity. They were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions, in which they were either asked to think about their own death or think about a joyful event. Participants then indicated their willingness to make contributions for each of the 20 topics.
Regression analyses suggested that willingness to contribute was predicted by perceived topic characteristics. Controversiality accounted for 17% of the variance, R2 = .17, F(1, 81) = 16.99, p < .01, and familiarity accounted for 43% of the variance, R2 = .43, F(1, 81) = 61.73, p < .01, in willingness scores. In order to analyze the impact of our manipulation on willingness to contribute, we ran a MANOVA with all articles as dependent variables. We found a significant effect of the mortality manipulation on the willingness scores, F(80, 2) = 28.31, p < .05, daverage = .21, such that participants in the mortality condition were more willing to contribute. There was no interaction effect between topic characteristics and mortality salience.
Our first finding supported the literature insofar as participants preferred to work on familiar topics which created disputes. Although the effect of mortality salience on willingness was contrary to the expectations, this makes sense in that mortality leads to compensation behaviors as individuals would like to feel like “a valuable contributor of a meaningful universe” (Greenberg, Solomon, & Pyszczynski, 1997). These results will be followed up with other lab experiments and online studies to further deepen our understanding of learning behaviors in online communities.
P24: Relevant or Irrelevant on YouTube? On the Role of Sidebars and Language Styles on Credibility Judgements
University of Münster, Germany
Since (lay)people rarely have capabilities to judge the vast amount of online videos and its quality based on systematic evaluation, heuristic cues become important in judging information and experts’ reliability. Videos on YouTube are typically presented with sidebars introducing other (related) videos. Based on a heuristic approach of information processing (Sundar, 2008) we assume sidebar's relevance and language spoken in video to be heuristic cues in terms of navigability and agency which influence viewer’s credibility and trustworthiness judgments.
We report data from a 2 x 2 between subjects experiment with sidebars’ relevance (relevant vs. irrelevant related videos) and language in video (conversational vs. formal) to investigate its impact on information credibility (Matthes & Kohring, 2003), expert’s trustworthiness (METI: Hendricks, Kienhues, & Bromme, 2015), and self-reported learning gain. While completing an online survey participants will watch a video about nutrition myths that is embedded in a screenshot. Pertaining to the experimental condition screenshots show either relevant related videos (similar content) or irrelevant related videos (different content). The video spoken in conversational language contains more second-person pronouns (Mayer et al., 2004) and self-references which we extracted from 26 previously transcribed YouTube videos. We formulated a second version of expert’s language in video that replaced the personal pronouns (e.g., “you”) by formal words like “the”. Videos are identical regarding content, expert, and design. For screenshots we selected comparable frames regarding general appearances and used same syntax and length of titles.
Since, similarity heuristic is “likely to influence the perception of relevance and thereby contribute to perceived credibility” (Sundar, 2008, p. 91) we assume that viewers will judge video’s information to be more credible and expert to be more trustworthy when sidebar refers to similar content compared to sidebar referring to different content. We further hypothesize that conversational language inhibits the effect of sidebar because of triggering the authority heuristics and leads to the lowest credibility and trustworthiness ratings when related videos are irrelevant (Sundar, 2008). Additionally, we assume that conversational language may positively affect users’ self-reported learning gain due to feelings of being personally addressed (Mayer, Fennell, Farmer, & Campbell, 2004).
In sum, our study focuses on obvious aspects when watching videos online and will help to clarify whether people use these cues to rely on science information given in online videos.
Hendriks, F., Kienhues, D., & Bromme, R. (2015). How to measure trust in experts in a digital age: The Muenster Epistemic Trust Inventory (METI). PLOS ONE, 10: e0139309.
Matthes, J., & Kohring, M. (2003). Operationalisierung von Vertrauen in Journalismus. Medien und Kommunikationswissenschaft, 51, 5–23.
Mayer, R. E., Fennell, S., Farmer, L., & Campbell, J. (2004). A personalization effect in multimedia learning: Students learn better when words are in conversational style rather than formal style. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(2), 389–395.
Sundar, S. S. (2008). The MAIN Model: A Heuristic Approach to Understanding Technology Effects on Credibility. In M. J. Metzger & A. J. Flanagin (Eds.). Digital media, youth, and credibility (72–100). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
P25: Digital Natives’ Avoidance Attitude Towards Visual Material? Effects of Camcorder Symbol, Informational Utility, Individual Verbal and Imaginal Traits on Selective Exposure to Online Headlines
Sapientia - Hungarian University of Transylvania, Romania
Two quasi-experiments were conducted with students to test the effects of camcorder symbol, a “peripheral cue” (Elaboration Likelihood Theory, Petty & Priester, 1994) attached to headlines with low or high utility. In addition, we tried to detect the role of verbal and imaginal/visual individual differences (Paivio, 1975) in the process of headlines selection.
First experiment. Four Hungarian speaking students group (N = 250) were exposed to online news and they selected the preferred ones by clicking. A portal for students was created based on a real news portal.Four headlines with high and four with low utility were used in every condition. Half of both headline groups were positive and the other half were negative. There also were two distractor headlines in every group. Camcorder symbols were attached to headlines in three groups as follows: to headlines with low utility in the first, to headlines with high utility in the second and mixed in the third. The fourth was the control group. The four utility dimensions (Knobloch-Westerwick, 2015) were pretested based on real and manipulated headlines.
Respondents who preferred visual information processing chose more headlines with camcorder symbol. Those with high scores on the verbal scale of IDQ test did not choose more headlines without camcorder.
The presence of camcorder increased the selection of the headlines in the first condition with low utility, but, surprisingly, decreased the number of clicks in the second experimental group on headlines, all with high utility.
A regression analysis showed that those with high scores on both verbal and visual scales selected more and more headlines with low utility, in fact, they avoided headlines with the camcorder.
In the second research (N=160) in experimental group we primed respondents’ dominant cognitive style – verbal or visual – with a supraliminal stimuli: a camcorder in the upper left corner of eight nature photos. In both conditions there were presented exactly the same headlines that those in the third condition in the first experiment.
Due to the priming respondents with dominant visual cognitive style chose more headlines with camcorder than the respondents in control group. By using PROCESS macro we found that the selection of headlines with camcorder is moderated by the verbal scores only at some points of the variable. However, like in the first experiment, those who were high on both visual and verbal scale (11%) presented again a typical avoidance attitude towards headlines with camcorder. Priming with camcorder did not increase the selection of headlines with camcorder. On the contrary, they decreased it in a significant extent.
Using an eye-tracker, this avoiding attitude was confirmed. Similar to the previous group, respondents with average scores on verbal scale and low on visual scale (9,7%) also presented surprising result: while in the control group we found a strong interest for camcorder, in the experimental group such an orientation could not be detected.
Results could be valid only for reading online news, are probably influenced by the credibility of the news portal and new media literacy skills.
P26: Work related social support in Q&A sites. A content analysis approach
Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, Germany
Due to the increasing prevalence of knowledge work and rapid digitalization of the workplace, it has become common for employees to seek information and support via social media. To be able to study informational support at scale, we propose a combination of manual and automatic content analysis. We elicited over 35,000 threads from Stack Exchange Workplace , which is a Q&A site oriented towards professionals and drew a random sample of 1000 answers to develop and test our approach. Our preliminary results show that informational support online consists mostly of suggestions and sharing own experiences, while direct tasks are very hard to find. At the conference we will introduce and explain our method, which proved as useful and feasible for our research question.
P27: Re-framing of the media agenda (Georgia case)
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia
Producing proper media-monitoring reports, detecting the media frames and using techniques of the re-framing are essential phases for improving the positioning in the media. With the additional help of a custom-made pattern and coding system it becomes easier to analyze the relevant organization’s stance in particular news network and efficiency of media-relations, as well as assessing the media-product itself (accuracy of coverage) and the company’s result vector (in setting the agenda).
The goal of the research is identify the frames that cause the positive or
negative make up of the media content and provide the recommendations for re-framing them with the appropriate technique.
Research questions are as it follows:
Research Question 1: what are the elements that exist in the story or event and cause
positive or negative media reflection, framing of the news?
Research Question 2: What techniques can be used for the re-framing negative news into positive ones?
Methodology: using quantitative content-based analysis, more than 10,000 news stories
covering the fields of education and science, in broadcast media (seven TV channels) have been analysed.
Based on the research the main elements that cause positive and/or negative
coverage in the media have been identified and techniques of the re-framing (from negative news into positive ones) has been determined, tested and evaluated in practice. Efficiency of that technique has been applied in Georgia’s Ministry of Education and Science (department of public relations).
According to the results, 12 positive and 12 element had been detected; These elements in the study have the unique name: “Magic 12”. The specific elements and frames that influence on media tone are in correlation with each other and the more symbols exist in the story, the more influence they have on media-coverage. Re-framing technique might be used during event planning as well.
P28: GENRE FRAMING AND TRANSPORTATION – A CONDITIONAL MODEL OF PERCEIVED REALISM IN NARRATIVE PERSUASION
Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany
Informing recipients in a traditional manner with hard facts, figures and arguments has become a great challenge in recent years due to sensory overload, public persuasion knowledge and the resulting hurdle to overcome resistance to advice (Moyer-Gusé & Nabi, 2010). Although stories are sometimes exaggerated, potentially invented and may take place in a world outside of reality, there is compelling evidence that narratives are more persuasive than purely realistic, argument-based communication, which are barely keeping pace with the requirements of the information age. This study concentrates more deeply on the unusual power of narratives as tools of social marketing to be more persuasive than purely realistic argument-based communications (e.g., Dal Cin et al., 2004). More precisely, it concentrates on the significance of the perceived realism of stories in the field of the paradoxical persuasion as introduced by fictitious narratives, which is not fully uncovered so far. In accordance with the findings of research on fear appeals, persuasion and narrative persuasion, fear-inducing stories are very useful for capturing audience attention for reasons of entertainment education (Hoffner & Levine, 2005; Sparks & Sparks, 2000; Moyer-Gusé et al., 2011). Hence, this paper examines the paradox of narrative persuasion in this area where more research is needed. So far, the previous attempts to explain the paradoxical effect of stories indicate a restriction of the audience’s acceptance of fictitious storylines to contextual and situational conditions, and thus provide evidence for a suppressed impact of perceived realism (Böcking, 2008; Busselle & Bilandzic, 2008). Two important elements of these conditions, namely genre and transportation, require attention in the research field of the external, reflectively evaluated realism perception effects. Since a careful study of the interdisciplinary literature suggests the guiding force of genre expectations in the persuasive effect of perceived realism (Wuss, 1993; Ohler, 1994; Zwaan, 1994; Todorov, 1977; Segal, 1995; Shapiro & Kim, 2012), this study addresses this research gap by analyzing whether the impact of perceived realism depends on the genre. Particularly, three meaningful genres, namely crime, thriller and melodrama, are focused more closely. These genres are mainly suggestions chosen according to representative literature, highlighting that crime stories are generally expected to be realistic, while the latter two are not (Nusser, 2009; Suerbaum, 1984; Weber, 2013; Koebner & Felix, 2007; Mercer & Shingler, 2004). Furthermore, the function of transportation as an enhancing or attenuating condition of the perceived realism effect in accordance with the selected fictitious genres is examined. Thereby, this paper contributes to the recent discussion in this field (Green & Brock, 2002; Zwarun & Hall, 2012; Green, 2004; Bilandzic & Kinnebrock, 2006) and broadens the knowledge regarding the mechanisms in the persuasion process (Appel & Malečkar, 2012).
In order to empirically examine the proposed moderated moderating effect of the story genre and transportation on the impact of perceived realism, two online and paper-based experimental surveys are conducted that focus on danger and fear control reflections towards the issues of food consumption and on cancer prevention and control appealed in the story. These studies involve the reading of a short story and the pre and post-evaluation of the danger and fear control regarding the issues addressed in the narratives. The factor genre is manipulated by the development of the three selected genres out of the core of one story. Expert interviews serve to improve experimental manipulation. To analyze the data, a multiple regression analysis involving a three-way interaction effect and focus on the conditional analysis is used.
Results of both, the study on education regarding food consumption and on education regarding cancer prevention and control, mirror once again the paradox of narratives: the perceived realism of stories is not an element that leads necessarily to persuasion. However, they simultaneously help to provide a better understanding of its underlying mechanisms. The outcomes of both studies extend the approach of Böcking (2008) as well as Busselle and Bilandzic (2008). They argue that the importance of the link to reality is guided by genre expectations. In genres, which are not expected to be realistic, even a negative reflective responding on perceived realism, ascribed to the confusion of the receiver’s story world (Busselle & Bilandzic, 2008), is reexamined. In agreement with the idea of Bilandzic and Kinnebrock (2006), the author recovers a moderation of transportation on the effect of perceived realism in conjunction with the genre. This study thereby contributes to the discussion on the causal relationships within the persuasion procedure and reaffirms the persuasive power of transportation. The results support transportation as being a process that enlarges distance from the real world in certain genres such that real world facts become insignificant in terms of persuasion goals. According to the genres that are expected to be highly realistic, transportation is identified as strengthening the relevance of perceived realism regarding narrative persuasion.
The results of both studies are important guidelines for further steps of entertainment education as well as social marketing. They imply that communication professionals, who apply realistic storytelling, should have regards to the important condition of the story genre and transportation. According to a certain level of transportation, realistic story content is a persuasive ingredient in some genres, but in specific other narratives, it harms persuasion. In those cases social marketing managers have the freedom to construct stories more creatively. In addition to the implications for marketing practice, the findings of the study propose avenues for future research.
P29: Story effects and social comparison
Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany
The influence of stories on its readers is often attributed to their power to take us on a mental journey by experiencing the life of people from backgrounds quite different from our own. This experience of being transported into different story worlds (Green & Brock, 2000) might lead to changes in our self-perception, which are in line with a protagonist’s traits- a process called assimilation (Richter, Appel, & Calio, 2014).
However, are stories always “hypodermic needles”, which inject different selves into their recipients? Stories and its protagonists could also serve as a standard of comparison (Biernat, 2005). Indeed, people often choose specific story content to compare themselves with others, who are worse off, in order to gain some self-supporting information about oneself (Mares & Cantor, 1992). Because of this downward social comparison, recipients’ self-concepts might be boosted or contrasted away from traits of a struggling protagonist (Appel, 2011). However, there is little empirical research on these contrast effects on recipients and the role of transportation in the process.
Therefore, the current experiment aimed to investigate whether recipients assimilate/adapt traits of a story protagonist or contrast their self-perception away from a protagonist’s trait by comparing themselves. Transportation was experimentally manipulated by presenting a brief positive or a negative review about a story prior to reading the experimental story (Shedlosky-Shoemaker, Costabile, DeLuca, & Arkin, 2011). The experimental story was featuring a pre-service teacher, who has trouble with his/her studies. The protagonist was attending a course along with psychology students, who performed much better. The vivid story portrayed a likeable and warm main character, that allows recipients to be transported into the story. However, the unsuccessful protagonist could also serve as an invitation to compare yourself downwards. Research in social psychology revealed that especially (pre-service) teachers are subject to considerable negative and positive stereotyping (Swetnam, 1992). They are often perceived as having a low level of competence, but also a high level of warmth (Ihme & Möller, 2015). Only psychology students (N=165) took part in our study. Psychology students, although similarly stereotyped in the warmth dimension and similar to pre-service teachers in other characteristics (e.g., gender distribution), constitute a different group who is not targeted by negative competence stereotype (Ihme & Möller, 2015). Therefore, downwards comparisons to prospect teachers regarding competence might be conceivable from the viewpoint of a psychology student.
We assessed different depended variables in order to measure effects of the story on the self: First, the Social Comparison and Interest Scale (SCIS; Thwaites & Dagnan, 2004), which rates competence and warmth on a bipolar 10-point Likert scale in relation to other students. As second DV we used the SELLMO (Spinath, Stiensmeier-Pelster, Schöne, & Dickhäuser, 2002), a standardized diagnostic measure for learn and achievement motivation. Results showed that participants in the negative review condition rated themselves as significant less competent compared to the positive review condition. Other results will be discussed.
P30: The story never bothered me anyway. A Mixed-Method-Study of narrative understanding of Disney’s Frozen for 4-12 year old children
Institute for Media Reserach, TU Chemnitz, Germany
Transmedia storytelling involves unfolding narratives across multiple media platforms with each text making a distinctive and valuable contribution to the whole (Jenkins, 2006). Modern media franchises heavily rely on transmedia story worlds to tell many different stories within the same world (e.g. Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, or Star Trek). The goal of this method is an increased audience engagement, intrinsic involvement and enjoyment (Dena, 2009) while also being able to tell stories using different media channels (e.g. comics, movies, video games), genres (e.g. drama, comedy, horror) or audience groups (e.g. adults, children). Many of Disney’s animated franchises are created for a cross-generational appeal, including child audiences with media extensions and merchandising specifically targeting them. However, several limitations apply when considering transmedia narratives for children. Thus, children have to develop different cognitive, emotional, moral and social skills (Piaget, 1953; Perner, 1993; Selman, 1984) and knowlegdge structures in order to deal appropriately with media (Potter, 2013). Based on social-cognitive development processes, children from the age of 4 years and above are increasingly able to recognise the feelings, beliefs, and motives of other persons (theory of mind, Perner & Wimmer, 1983). When children have reached this developmental stage, they are also able to understand the intentions and motives of media figures. Content producers have to consider cognitive, social and emotional development of children and if they exceed this developmental-based limitation, comprehension is compromised.
As a case study, we used Disney’s Frozen (Del Vecho, Lasseter & Scribner, 2013), a very successful franchise that is also highly popular with young children. Using a mixed-method approach, we first conducted a film analysis of specific scenes of Disney’s Frozen to analyze the cognitive demands to properly comprehend the narrative structure for children of ages four to twelve. We then showed these scenes to six children (age 4, 4, 7, 8, 12, 13) and conducted interviews with the children and their parents to assess both narrative understanding and cognitive abilities. We assessed the understanding of the franchise’s main characters in relation to the protagonist Elsa (interpersonal relationships and story complexity), the understanding of intentions and emotions of the characters in the chosen scenes (theory of mind, empathy) and the understanding of transmedia narratives (merchandising, other media extensions, parasocial relationships with the franchise’s characters). Results show a multitude of Frozen media extensions (e.g. story books, video games) and merchandise for young children, primarily used by girls up to the age of eight years. The characters showed to be important role models for girls ages 4-8, but not for the boys of the sample. As hypothesized, the four-year-olds did not comprehend the narrative structure of the movie. Participants age 7+ did correctly identify emotions and intentions of the characters. Only the participants 12+ did correctly understand the complete narrative, but felt that the movie has been made with younger children in mind. Overall, the movie has a higher relevance for younger children, even though they do not completely understand the narrative or the emotions of the characters.